So, you’re thinking of going to culinary school? You’ve seen the TV shows, you’ve been to some awesome restaurants, you’ve hosted a party or two to rave menu reviews, and now you are hoping to take the next step in your culinary journey by getting the education you need in order to become a professional chef. That can be a tough decision, but we’ve done some research for you and comprised a checklist of the top seven reasons why culinary school may be a good choice.
You Should Go to Culinary School If
1.) You Want to Get the Ladies.
(Or gents. Let’s not discriminate here.) We’ve all heard the old adage, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” right? Well, that one’s pretty much a no brainer. Guys are fairly easy.
But I am going to let you in on a little secret Gentleman, so take note of this: The way to a woman’s heart? That’s finding a man who does chores. And cooking? That’s a thrice daily chore. So, for woman, finding a man who can cook is just as exciting as when the Red Sox’s beat the Yankees back in 2004 and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years (Seriously Red Sox fans, 86 years?). And remember Men, bonus points if you also do dishes.
2.) You Want to Be a Contestant on Top Chef . . .
And “compete for the chance to win a feature in Food and Wine Magazine, a showcase at the annual Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, and of course, the title of Top Chef.”
I am fairly certain that almost every single person who has watched this show has thought about going to culinary school (Note to Bravo: Top Chef is pretty inspiring. “Bravo!” to you). And if you do decide to attend culinary school, but not for the chance to learn how to cook and get on the show and win all of those cool prizes, and instead, so that you can meet Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, no one would hold it against you.
I had to look this up to verify, but Padma used to be a model, so that’s proof right there that she is attractive. And as for Tom, bald heads for gentleman of a certain age are totally trending right now (Okay, so I made that up, but it seems like all of my female friends are starting to find bald men attractive. That constitutes a trend, right?) Also, see number 1. That man can cook.
So, while there is not a direct correlation between culinary school and a spot on Top Chef, it can’t hurt to try.
3.) You Want to Avoid Spending Time With Your Friends and Family.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes social obligations can get a little overwhelming. Sure, it’s nice to be able to see your loved ones once in a while (“once in a while” being operative words here), but is it really that essential that you make it to your second cousin Suzy’s fourth birthday party? (Not unless there is a bounce house, obviously.)
As a chef, you put a lot of time into the kitchen. Days are long and days off are few and far between. And since Friday through Sunday night is peak time for restaurant goers, you can basically bid a fond farewell to your weekends. But while you occasionally might miss out on true quality time spent with friends and family, on the flip side, you also have the perfect guilt free way of getting out of less desirable social situations.
So, the next time your buddy asks you to help them move a couch up a five story walk-up only to find out at the top of the stairs that it’s too big for the door, you can just say, “Sorry, I’ld love to, but I have to work.” (I mean, I personally only help friends move if there is going to be a bounce house afterwards, and I haven’t even been to culinary school.)
4.) You Don’t Mind Getting Yelled At.
Hey, I’ve seen Hell’s Kitchen. I know how it is (Wait you’re telling me not to believe everything you see on television? But, come on, what about those made-for-TV movies on Lifetime?).
Apparently even without the heightened drama of TV, the kitchen can still be a stressful environment. As a chef, you are constantly working in a time-sensitive situation in order to get food orders out accurately and quickly. In a brigade system, especially, where you are highly dependent on others, communication between stations is key.
And naturally, in high-pressure situations, sometimes said communication can get a little heated. But like they say, “If you can’t stand the heat…” (Buy an air conditioner, ba–dum–bum.)
5.) You’re Looking to Gain Some Weight.
So, of course, weight gain is not a given for those pursuing a culinary career. But if you are becoming a chef because you love to eat delicious food, you’re not really helping your case any on the weight-control front (Food Network’s Fat Chef, anyone?).
Being at the restaurant all day, professional chefs tend to spend a lot of time grazing on unhealthy food that they are preparing, often, because they do not have time to take a break and eat a proper meal. And after a long day at work cooking, the last thing many chefs want to do when they get home at night is put together a healthy dinner. Furthermore, all good chefs need to taste their food, and those calories can definitely add up.
But for individuals who have always had a hard time putting on weight, as well as those who are willing to make health and fitness a priority, weight gain shouldn’t be a problem. For the rest of us, what’s a little extra padding here and there? It’s just more to love, right?
6.) You Want to Become Rich and Famous.
Let ‘s be real. If becoming rich and famous is your goal, you should probably find another line of work. In 2012, the median annual salary for a chef was $42,480—a number that does not necessarily bring the word “rich” to mind. The culinary field is extremely competitive. It takes a lot of hard work and talent to run a successful restaurant, and segueing into TV spots, cookbooks, and product lines requires years of experience in order for you to build up your reputation.
In fact the Food Network actually has a television series dedicated entirely to creating culinary celebrities (apty named the Next Food Network Star), and out of the eight seasons the show has aired, three of the winners have not even had a show that lasted more than a season (or in the case of season eight winner, Justin Warner, an episode).
However, season two winner, Guy Fieri, did go on to become a household name with his hit shows Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy’s Big Bite. In 2013, just seven years after competing, Fieri was named number 10 in Forbes’ list of top earning celebrity chefs with an annual income of $8 million (Our Hell’s Kitchen friend Gordon Ramsey topped the list with a cool $38 million). So, with hard work, talent, a strong personality, and a whole lot of luck, it is indeed, possible to become a culinary celebrity (I just wouldn’t bank on it.).
7.) You Really Enjoy Cooking.
It should be pretty obvious, but all of the time, people across America go back to school in order to pursue a new career without knowing what they are getting themselves into. So, if you are going to put up with numbers 3-5 on this list, you should certainly make sure you actually like to cook. Becoming a chef isn’t for the faint of heart, but if food is your passion and you want to make a living out of it, culinary school could be a good place to start.[schools cid=1013 sub=Culinary%20%26%20Hospitality scat=Culinary%20Arts csrc=state]